One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Exodus 2:11-12
This rings true…too true. Not the killing part. Rest assured, that does not ring true. I haven’t killed anyone. What I mean is the phrasing of it. “Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.”
Glancing this way and that he…and hid…
How many times in life do we look around—glance this way and that—and then act? An action we wouldn’t have done had we known anyone would see. Then after acting there is the hiding. There is always the hiding. I’m amazed at how much of our lives involves the hiding of things, actions, behaviors, thoughts, attitudes. It is the most ingrained response we have. We do wrong, and then we hide. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve. And the better I get to know the people in my life, the more I realize how pervasive it is for all of us. So often we don’t even realize we’re doing it.
Moses saw no one, and so he did what he wouldn’t have done otherwise. Is the problem that we have so disconnected ourselves from the reality of God that we forget—or don’t care—that he sees even when no one else does? Or is it that we just want what we want so much that nothing else matters? Maybe it’s that we just don’t think at all. The glancing this way and that is just a reaction, but there is no real thinking involved. I don’t know, but we do this and we do it often.
We use words we wouldn’t use if others were around. We look at things we wouldn’t look at if others were around. We become people we wouldn’t become if we knew others would see. Then there is the hiding of it. And for this we pay a price. There is always a price for living in secret. Always.
The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.” Exodus 2:13-14
Sometimes the price is just people finding out. People realizing that we aren’t who we’ve been pretending to be. Moses finds out that hiding things is far harder to accomplish than at first imagined. And then there is the second price he pays.
When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. Exodus 2:15
Why is it that secret actions and the hiding of things in our lives is so often accompanied by running away? We flee relationships. We flee situations. We flee responsibility. We flee intimacy. When we live with actions we did because we didn’t see anyone looking; when we live with secrets we’ve hidden away so that no one will find out we will often find ourselves fleeing from all sorts of things.
We won’t always make the right choice. That’s a given. But we can certainly work to be people who don’t decide what we are going to do or say based on whether or not we see anyone looking. And we can choose to walk in the light. To be people of honesty. We can choose to stop fleeing, to stop hiding and burying bad choices and weaknesses. We can choose a different way. Or, like Moses, we can choose the way that leads to desert living and sheep herding.
When did seeing other people looking become a determining factor for how we react? How we live? Let’s choose a different way; a better way.
It’s time to come out from hiding; time to stop fleeing; it’s time to live.